Despite weak showings in the first leg, all three Hungarian teams advanced to the semifinals. In Athens, UVSE crushed titleholder Ethnikos, while Ferencvaros rallied to eliminate Terrassa and Eger overcame a three-goal deficit to defeat Vouliagmeni in a penalty shootout. Padova, an Italian city, put together a near-perfect performance and easily eliminated Lille.
Second leg of the quarterfinals
Match score: Lille UC (FRA) 5-11; Plebiscito Padova (ITA) 15-23; Overall score:
9-13 for Ethnikos Piraeus vs. 13-9 for UVSE Budapest (HUN) (totals: 19-23).
Total score: 21-18, FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) vs. CN Terrassa (ESP), 14-9.
Aggregate score: 31-30; Tigra ZF Eger (HUN) vs. NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) 14-11; penalty kicks: 5-4
Padova, who finished third in the Euro League last season, had to overcome some difficulties to earn that medal, including a shocking elimination from the Champions League preliminary round and a tense matchup with Lille two weeks ago. On this Saturday, however, the Italians came back and made it clear that they were the superior team. Lille got off to a great start and even led 2-1, but Padova responded with an 0-4 run, and by the end of the third, the Italian team was comfortably up by double digits, 3-8, to secure a double win and advance to the semifinals.
In the first leg, titleholder Ethnikos (who won the LEN Trophy last spring) and UVSE played to a promising 10-10 draw in Budapest, producing the same extremely balanced game for a while. Never by more than one goal did the score fluctuate between 8-8 until early in the fourth. The Greeks were stunned after UVSE’s Panna Szegedi scored two action goals in a span of 18 seconds. After failing to close the gap for another three minutes, they gave up two more goals in 51 seconds, and at 8-12 with 2:07 left, the game was over.
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Although Terrassa doubled their aggregate lead early on after arriving in Budapest with a 2-0 advantage, Ferencvaros responded with a 5-0 run that ended the first period and effectively ended any hopes the Spaniards had of advancing. When Pilar Pena missed a penalty late in the second half, the score was tied at 6-4, and Dora Leimeter scored 37 seconds later to put the game out of reach for the visitors. The home team continued to dominate in the third, capitalising on the psychological advantage they had over the Spanish defence. With a five-goal deficit after allowing four more, Terrassa faced an uphill battle in the fourth, but their hosts were in no mood to help. They took a lead of six points three times, a first for a women’s European team, and eventually advanced to the semifinals.
Since Eger lost by three goals to Vouliagmeni two weeks ago, the Hungarians needed a miracle to finish with a perfect 3/3 record. The home team started the game behind (3-4) but came storming back in the second quarter to take a 7-5 lead into the break. Twice in the third they tied the overall score, but the Greeks scored twice in the final minutes of the quarter to fall behind, 10-9. Early in the fourth, the Magyars put together another strong spell, scoring two goals while holding the opposition scoreless for 3:30 of game time. After 12-9, the Greeks were able to claw back once or twice, but Eger was able to answer back each time, bringing the score back to 14-11 with 2:19 left. As the clock ticked down to 1:14, the home team had a golden opportunity to win on a 6 on 5 but failed to convert, forcing a penalty shootout. It was a day to remember for Hungary, as not only did three of their teams advance to the semifinals, but one of their Champions League participants, Dunaujvaros, also claimed a stunning 4–0 away win in Spain. The final round was a shootout, with Stamatina Kaiafa’s shot being stopped by Patricia Kiss before the winner was scored by Rebecca Parkes.